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How Not To Gain The Freshman 15 At The University of Southern California

How Not To Gain The Freshman 15 At The University of Southern California

The freshman 15 is often referred to when college freshman gain 15 pounds of weight due to numerous reasons such as lack of exercise, poor diet from dorm food, stress, and a packed schedule. This can happen to upperclassmen and transfer students as well, but it’s totally preventable. Here is how to keep that weight off and be beach-body ready year-round!

1. Drink at least 64 ounces of water every day.

Yes, this will make a difference as it will keep you hydrated and feel full. Purchase a water bottle that you will like and be able to carry all day. There are numerous fountains on campus that will fill your bottle with filtered water. You just put it under the tap and it automatically pours! You can also get water from the soda fountains at the Panda Express and The Habit burger grill. Try the¬†water flavoring packets at the nearby Smart & Final and Ralph’s. Or if you can’t do that, drink slightly sweetened iced tea.

2. Stop drinking soda.

Seriously, it adds an unnecessary amount of sugar in your daily diet. It’s easy to gain weight just by drinking sugary soda. Even diet soda is not good for you. An alternative to soda is sparkling water because what you actually want is the carbonation in the soda. You can purchase this in a variety of flavors at your local grocery store!



3. Stop eating meat at the residential dining halls.

That meat is full of salt and salt makes you retain water. Thus, you gain weight also known as water weight. USC’s dining halls provide vegetarian and vegan options, so you can go with protein substitutes that have lower salt content and calorie intake as well. Bonus: it helps the environment.

4. Incorporate more fruit and veggies in your diet.

This will make a difference because these provide necessary vitamins and minerals. The dining halls have a variety of options to choose from and you do not have to always go with a salad! You can grab a piece of fruit on your way out to eat in between classes as well. That way, you’re not starving when you get out of your lecture or lab.


5. Rethink how you customize your coffee.

You don’t have to stop drinking coffee. For many, it’s an essential part of college. What you need to do is replace your preference of milk. So instead having cream or whole milk, you do 1-2% milk, almond, soy, or coconut milk. You may pleasantly discover that your stomach is happier and you coffee tastes smoother.

6. Replace your current carbs with whole grains.

White bread, white rice, plain bagels, and other carbs are considered incomplete grains because they do not provide as much nutritional value as whole grains such as wheat bread, brown rice, and whole wheat bagels. You can do this with your burritos as well. You can also go gluten-free, but it is not required.



7. Don’t like salads? Well, you can do green smoothies!

Green smoothies are smoothies that incorporate leafy greens into a nice, cold drink. They can be meal replacements for people on the go. All you need to start is a blender, the ingredients, and a cup to hold it in. You can find many recipes online as well. You can go off this basic chart:

You can find most of these ingredients at your local grocery store. Also, a Trader Joe’s will be opening next year as part of the new USC Village, so that can be option for your ingredients as well!

8. Use a smaller plate for portion control.

Using a smaller plate will trick your mind into believing it is fuller quicker, thus making portion control easier to implement. Additionally, half of your plate should be veggies, one fourth should be your carbs, and one fourth should be protein.


9. Cut back on cheese.

I love cheese, but even I have to admit that too much will be detrimental in the long run. Cheese does contain the calcium you need, but it also has fat because it is made with cream. So try to limit your pizza intake to once a week, even if it’s tempting.

10. Don’t eat out as much.

Going out to eat is great and convenient, but those dishes often contain at least a day’s worth of your calorie intake. That is not something you want everyday if you’re trying to keep off the freshman 15 (or lose weight for that matter). If you do have to go out to eat, then try your best to go to places with healthier options or vegetarian options. You can ask to have things like dressing on the side. Most places are accommodating to customers within their ability.

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Going out to eat also adds up quickly when it comes to your monthly budget. It will add at least $100/month! You can buy a number of things with that kind of money, such as new clothes or that new game you’ve been waiting for.

11. Don’t drink copious amounts of alcohol.

Society 19 does not promote underage drinking, but it does happen at parties. If you didn’t learn from the alcohol course USC requires, then I have to let you in on a nasty truth. It is fattening. That one shot contains the same amount of sugar (if not more) as a 12 oz. can of Coke!

Additionally, it lowers your metabolism. Your metabolism is how fast your body burns calories. Since your body cannot burn the calories that it normally would, you gain weight. It is extremely easy to gain those 15 pounds just from alcohol. It’s also difficult to lose because you must raise your metabolism back up.


12. Exercise!

Your diet is only part of the equation when it comes to avoiding the freshman 15. Exercise actually raises your metabolism so you can burn calories at a faster rate and thus burn off any fat as well. If you’re enrolled for a full year, you do not have to spend any additional costs to use the Lyon Center Gym and the Health Sciences Center Gym. They’re actually included in your tuition!

Even better, for a small fee you can have a session with a certified trainer to help figure out what workout routine works best for you. It helps to have a workout buddy as well. You must fill out a waiver and it will take 24 hours before you can use their facilities.

13. Learn to manage stress.

When you get stressed, your body releases a chemical that makes you retain water weight. This is beneficial for your mental health in the long run because you will be stressed after you graduate from college.


14. Get as much sleep as possible.

I know that’s hard, but it is possible. Your body will thank you later.

Keep all of these in mind as you continue through college (and post-college as well!) and you should be fine. Remember to fight on, Trojans.
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